Posted by: 6x6pix | July 9, 2010

Documenting the BP Oil Leak

Via Conscientious: New Orleans-based photographer Julie Dermansky is covering  the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf and on the Gulf coast. She’s blogging about her experience, and posting many powerful, heartbreaking images on her Flickr account, despite BP’s increasingly aggressive and insidious efforts to block photographers and the media from areas visibly affected by the spill.

As Dermansky writes in a story for The Atlantic:

…last week […] the Coast Guard announced rules that prevent the public–including news photographers and reporters–from coming within 20 meters (about 65 feet) of any response vessels or booms on the water or beaches. Violate the “safety zone” rule and you can be slapped with a $40,000 fine and prosecuted under a Class D felony.

BP has worked hard from the start of this disaster to limit information on the spill and access to the cleanup site. These latest restrictions are a big win for BP’s PR machine in that the threat of a huge fine and felony charge will dissuade all but the most determined individuals from going anywhere near the area to get a first-hand look. But why are Gulf-area law enforcement agencies — and in fact, our own federal government — so zealously assisting BP in their efforts to obfuscate the extent of the environmental damage from this leak? Are we really living in the United Corporations of America?

There’s a meeting happening Tuesday, July 13, at 7pm at the Boston Photography Center Studio, 175 William F McClellan Highway in East Boston, to talk about these issues, including discussion about a potential Gulf trip this summer. All BPC members and other interested/outraged local photographers are welcome to join our conversation.

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